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I conceive, from the plainest principles of moral philosophy, and are susceptible of universal application.
The authority of God emanates not from his power, but alone from his infinite goodness. It is becanse he is “ good unto all,” that he legitimately extends his government over all, and commands them to obey. If he was not good unto every being, he could not rightfully call upon all to render obedience. His government was organized for the one great purpose of conferring benefit-goodhappiness-on all created beings. This principle is fully recog. nized in the Scriptures. The Psalmist exclaims, “ Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise : be thankful unto him and bless his name”-[Why? Because he has the power to command us to do so, and to inflict punishment if we disobey? No.)—“For the Lord is good, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endureih to all generations.” (Ps. c. 2-5.) Here Goodness is clearly recognized as the source of God's authority. The Apostle John says, “ We love him,” (and should obey and serve him, not because he has power to require and enforce obedience,] but " because he first loved us.” (1 John iv. 19.)
Was the government of God organized for the purpose of destroying the happiness of a part of his creatures, or was it designedly administered in such a manner as 10 produce that result, then it would be a despotism of the most cruel description, and they would be under no moral obligation to obey him. There can be no moral wrong in disobeying a government administered for the benefit of a part, at the expense of the remainder. Hence, the position that God's government is designed to promote the greatest good of the greatest number ; as that phrase is usually understood—(that is. the greatest good of a part, wrought out through the greatest evil of the others,)-is asserting a principle, which can in no way pertain to the government of a perfect God. To those who would be sacrificed for the good of the remainder, such a government would be a tyranny. No man can be placed in a condition for any cause -in consequence of any crime he may have committed, where it would be right to sacrifice him, simply for the benefit of others. To punish him justly, would be right. But to sacrifice him to promote good in another quarter, would be a wrong and unjust exercise of authority. However guilty an individual may be, still he retains some inherent rights which cannot be alienated. And anong the most important of these rights is this—That however much he may be punished as an example for the benefit of others, his own improvement and restoration to virtue is not to be lost sight of. Officers of justice are authorized to inflict a certain amount of punishment on convicts committed to their charge-and no more! Why? Because even the guilty have rights which must not be trampled upon. True justice, in no case, violates the dictates of humanity, and requires no punishment that calls upon men to forget the guilty are fellow beings, having some claims upon their sympathy. Hence, I repeat, the principle that a part of mankind may be sacrificed for the good of the remainder, is one that cannot pertain to the govern. - tnent of a God who is holy, just and good. Every moral being being in the universe, is under obligations to obey God, because his government is organized and administered to secure the happiness of each and all. It is a perfect government---perfect in its organization, in its laws, and in its administration, and accomplishing all its objects, according to the prompting of his infinite goodness and wisdom.
Upon this great truth-as beautiful as it is salutary—that God's government is perfect, and is adıninistered for the good of all,—I place myself in this discussion. From this truth, I shall draw my chief weapons to meet my friend on the opposite side; and in its light, shall endeavor to show that the affirmative of this question, composes one of the most marked, prominent and delusive errors of the age. If God's government is organized and administered for the good of all who are called upon to obey, then its laws, commandments, precepts, rewards and punishments are designed for the same end-indeed, they are but steps adapted expressly to secure that end. Hence punishment, being one of the processes adapted in God's government to promote the welfure of ihe guilty, to save them from just and deserved punishment, would be vastly more to their injury than their benefit.—[ Time expired.
(MR. HOLMES' SECOND SPEECH.] My friends:-Mr. Austin says he appears here not as a professed controversialist. In this I join with him, and it is often what I have expressed to him and others. I am not a controversialist, nor do I wish to gain any reputation of that kind. I am here under a sense of duty, to defend what I consider truth, for conscience sake. He remarks, also, that this question is not one of his own selection. And he carries the idea in his remarks that this is not a very important question, and that its discussion at this time would keep us back from questions of more importance and of higher claim. And yet before he gets through, he tells us it embraces one of the most marked and delusive errors that exists, and demands the reprobation of every intelligent mind. Of course if this be the character of the question, it is a highly important one. If such be the deleterious influence, a belief in the affirmative of the question produces on the human mind and the morals of society, it strikes me we have commenced at the right end of the controversy, that this is the very question that ought to be first discussed. I wish to have it understood also, as Mr. Austin has alluded to my position in the denomination with which I am connected, that I alone am responsible for the results of this debate, so far as I participate in it. You see I have very few of my ministerial bretheren here to-day. I have seen but two as yet, and it is likely there will be but very few here. I alone stand responsible, and I stand fearlessly, because I have truth for my basis. But that this is a fundamental question, as Mr. Austin himself almittel, will be suficiently apparent when we advert to the single fact, that if men must be punished for all their sins, and to the full extent of their deserts, ihere is no such thing as the atonement of Jesus Christ. The view that is taken of this question by Mr. Austin and the Universalists generally, subverts the whole Gospel. If there be no atonement, then we must take a different view of every element of the Gospel, for the atonement of Christ is the centre around which every other Gospel truth revolves: they derive their vitality, efficiency and power to save from the atonement. But this doctrine of human punishment, of expiating our sins by punishment, stan is directly in the place of propitiation which God has set forth, through faith in Christ's blood, that he might be just and the justitier of those who believe in Jesus. I regard this question therefore as important, that on its settlement depends those other most vital points, a vicarious atonement, the forgiveness of sins, the enjoyment of salvation here and the assurance of everlasting life hereafter. In short it is a question of noless importance than whether the world is without hope, or whether God in his goodness has visited us with a dispensation of grace and mercy. My friend is surprised that I and others who believe with me should take such pleasure as we do in this and other doctrines, but why should this excite surprise, since the Gospel of Jesus has been introduced for the purpose of relieving man from the necessity of damnation? How can he be surprise that we should believe in the atonement of Jesus, when it is expressly said that he suffered the just for the unjust that he might bring us to God? How with the Bible in his hand can he entertain surprise that we should adopt those doctrines which lay at the foundation of the whole Gospel system; and on which the hopes of men with respect to eternal salvation are built? Were our doctrines built on some chimera of the brain, were they maintained with a pertinacity which indicates a mere fondness for old errors, had they no support from the scriptures, were it not necesary to take this ground in order to move in harmony with God and the teachings of his holy word, then there might be some foundation for the gentleman's remarks, though it would he still more surprising, that the Gospel, introluced for the world's salvation should after all afford us no relief, nor furnish us with a single elememt of salvation: such would be the case were the doctrine for which he contends true. He says that if he errs, it is on the right side of the question. How is it on the right side of the question? If he errs, it is in leading the sinner to suppose he has no other punishment to endure than that which he receives as he passes through this world. He errs in leading the sinner's mind away from the atonement of Christ, deluding himn with the vain hore of expiating his offences by the few aches and pains of body and mind, which are
common to our earthly existence. Is it a trifling error to deny the Lord who bought us? To go about to establish our own righteousness, refusing to submit to the righteousness of God? I ask whether his error is on the right side if it should be found the incor. rigible sinner cannot satisfy for his own offences without eternal banishment from the presence and glory of God? This question is yet to be discussed, and yet he assumes this error to be a trifling one. The truth is, if it be an error, it is one whose consequences are most fearful : it leaves the sinner entirely without the means of salvation. But on the contrary, should my views be erroneous, no one will be punished less, no one will be induced to sin more. Universalism teaches that the punishment of the sinner ceases when he repents. So I teach : but I do not teach that repentance pays the debt, but that in connection with faith, it is indispensible to pardon and salvation.
I assure the sinner he may escape the punishment of his sins, but it is only on condition that he yields io the claims of the gospel made upon him now—that he exercises thorough repentancebecomes holy in heart, and life, and dedicates himself to God without reserve. Only in this way can the virtue of the atonement be applied in his salvation, God never pardons the sinner until he sees in ihe heart, a fixel purpose to forsake sin and lead a holy life. There must be an inward hatred and hearty renunciation of sin. Nor can the sinner repent when he pleases, because the power to repent is of God, and he may withhold the grace of repentance when the sinner presumes upon his mercy. And if after the reception of the pardon given for sins past, they depart from the truth then embraced, they lose the benefit of that pardon. Take these facts in connection with the doctrine I advocate, and then say if you can, that it encourages sin and transgression.
The authority of God and of his law, arises from his goodness, Mr. Austin tells you, that it is because his mercy endureth forever, that he posesses authority to make law for sinners. This is a singular idea. I acknowledge his goodness is a ground of obligation to obey him; but I always supposed that goodness was only a single attribute of the Godhead ; and that his authority arises from a harmonious exercise of his attributes. But my friend says it is his goodness alone. What then becomes of the justice, holiness, immutability and every other attribute that constitutes the divine character. His goolness alone, he says is the source from which emapates his authority.
There are some other points in connection with law, which I have not now time to discuss. The subject will come up in the last question, and I promise to give Mr. Austin, enough of law before this discussion is terminated.
I now take up my third argument in support of the affirmitive of this question. It is based on the sufferings of Christ for sinners. What was the object of his sufferings? I take the ground that man was and is benefitted really and prospectively by the sufferings, and death of Christ, and that this benefit embraces salvation from punishment. This I argue, first from the fact that Christ suffered. There is no way in which we can account for the suffering of Christ only on the supposition that they operated for the benefit of man. 1. He did not suffer for himself-he was without sin, in heart and in life. He had violated no law and on his own account was obnoxious to no penalty. Suffering as it exists in the universe is the direct or indirect result of a violation on the part of intelligent beings, of the laws and conditions of their existence. But as Christ had never violated any law, but was in the highest sense of the term jist, it is evident however we may account for his sufferings, he did not suffer in his own behalf. Nor is suffering a necessary. accompaniment oi a work of benevolence, excluding the idea of expiation for offences. To suppose this, would be to suppose the benevolent works of God were attended with pain to himself, or that holy angels diminish their own happiness by ministering to those who are heirs of salvation. The question therefore again recurs, what was the object of Christ's suffering ? If it was not to expiałe his own offences, nor yet because suffering is necessarily connected with a work of benevolence, why did he suffer ? Let the apostle answer the question: “ He died the just for the unjust, ihat he might bring us to God-he suffered for us, he bore our sins in his own body on the tree.” Let the prophet Isaiah answer the question : “ He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; by his stripes we are healed.” Now if my friend Mr. Austin, can tell me how all this can be done without any provision for salvation from punishment, I would like to hear it. But is it asked how the death of Christ operates to deliver the sinner from punishment ? I answer, it is by the power of expiation and propitiation. Let St. Paul illustrate this point: Scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man, some would even dare to die.” “ Here, to die for a good man,” says Dodulridge, “ is to lay down one life in order to save another.” But God's love was commended to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That is, he laid down his life in order to save the livs of others.” The Greek prepositions anti and uper, used in these and other quotations, and translated for,” signify for the benefit, or in the room and stead of others. So King David, “woulu io God I had died for thee.” Evidently the expression of a wish that he had died in the room and stead of Absalom. Says the learned Dr. Knapp, a distinguished German theologian,“when this phraseology is used in the New Testament with reference to Christ, it always means that he died in the stead or in the place of men, to deliver them.” The meaning is this: “ Since Christ suffered for our sins, we ourselves are freed from the necessity of enduring the punish. ment which they deserve.” See vol. ii. page 305. That is, Gos